Rabbit Holes – 12/10/2019

Various crafts have come and gone from my life, but most have been fiber crafts with limited equipment and consumable supplies. My mother switched crafts like clothing and most of her crafts required cabinets full of molds; candle making and cake decorating come to mind. She tried cross stitch after I started, bought boxes of bobbins and colors, embroidery hoops, and needles, but failed to keep her crosses all in the same direction and consistent and lost interest. Later in life, she helped on a quilt for her church’s retiring pastor and decided she wanted to become a quilter. I have what I think is the only quilt she ever completed. It was made for my husband and me as a wedding present. She pieced the top and had it quilted by someone else. It is lovely, but has never been used, just displayed because every time it is spread out, I have to sit with needle and thread and re-applique sections as she used a poly cotton blend and her stitching was too long.

Each of her crafts required lots of equipment and when her health failed and my parents sold our childhood home to downsize prior to her death. I went to help pack goods for donation, trash, and the move. Boxes and boxes of candle and cake molds, alone with other craft goods were packed up and taken to a donation center. I don’t remember if the quilting frame had been borrowed or purchased.

I do have an antique spinning wheel and a contemporary wheel I spin on, a 5 foot triangular loom with an easel, hand cards and combs that I use when demonstrating spinning at living history events. A set of interchangeable knitting needles and a couple of crochet hooks, but I have been doing this for quite a while now and continue playing with fiber.

My weaving experience has played with a rigid heddle loom for a few times and learning to weave on the Tri loom to use up some of my yarn more quickly. Having borrowed a small rigid heddle for the upcoming Colonial demonstration at a local elementary school, I needed a refresher on warping it. I posted a bit about it a few days ago. I wove off the short bit that was already on the loom and will make a small bag from it. Sunday, I stripped the rest off and tackled warping it with a 7′ warp.

To my surprise and delight, I was able to do it and it only took me about half an hour. I started weaving some of the gray and some of the teal wool yarn I had purchased to warp it and demonstrate on it and just kept going. I wove about 40 inches, carefully removed it and tied the remainder back on the front bar for the demonstration and made a cowl out of what I had woven.

Weaving the cowl, tying and twisting the fringe took just a couple of hours. Knitting a cowl takes much, much longer. This could become another rabbit hole, but it is easier on my arthritic wrist and hand.

Whew, What a Day/week- 12/8/2019

Currently, our lives aren’t our own, we have some control over scheduling, some, not total. I don’t even want to count the days we have been in doctor’s offices, physical therapy offices, and hearing clinic offices in the past 5 weeks. The only positive side of it was lots of time to knit for the holiday craft season. That is a double edged sword in itself. I have years when knits sell, then have years when not a single knit item is sold at the events, so there needs to be a balance, not too much inventory because I pay personal property tax on unsold inventory. Don’t get me started on that, you pay tax on the purchase of the fiber to spin or the yarn to knit, then personal property tax on the inventory in stock at the time of reporting to the county, then I pay state sales tax on anything I sell. And if the item sells through the on line shop or the buyer uses plastic to pay for it, there are fees. Then my time, etc. and people wonder why a handmade knit or woven item is expensive. Anyway, back to the week. Various appointments, mid week was my spinning group’s holiday party and the hostess has loaned me a small loom for the Elementary School Colonial Christmas event on the 20th, but I couldn’t remember all the steps for warping the loom. The day after the holiday party, she had several of us over to teach a new weaver, refresh two of us, and demonstrate to another who hasn’t fallen into that rabbit hole yet. That was two full afternoons last week.

Friday was cold and rainy, but the car had to be loaded for the first Farmers Market Holiday market event. The holiday markets are outdoors, so in addition to tables, racks, and inventory, I have to fit in the 10 foot pop-up shelter and the 4 weights to hold it in place if it gets windy. All this has to go into my little 14 year old CRV. Since I had to leave home around 7:15 Saturday morning to get there and unload, it couldn’t wait until morning. And since that event was followed last evening by the first Christmas Bazaar at Wilderness Road Regional Museum, I had to make sure I had everything I needed for that, but my spinning wheel wouldn’t fit.

The holiday market was terrific, beautiful weather, so many vendors, so much foot traffic.

Well, yesterday was a buy knits event, so the inventory is significantly reduced. There are still a few shawls, hats, mitts and mittens, and the sweater in the above photo left, but far fewer than I started with yesterday. That event ends at 2 p.m. and the vendors in the parking lot have to break down and get out quickly so the vendors under the shelter roof can break down and get out. I was headed home by 2:20 to unload the tent, weights, and mannequins, quickly change into Colonial clothes, grab my spinning wheel and fiber basket, give hubby a quick kiss and update, and leave to be at Wilderness Road Regional Museum Noel Nights by a bit after 4 (it is almost an hour from home).

Photo credit Wilderness Road Regional Museum/April Martin

The evening there was great too, some soaps sold, time to visit with some of my “Colonial” friends, and demonstrate spinning in the old German barn. Just look at those floor planks.

I left at 7:15 a.m. and returned home at 8:15 p.m. yesterday. At least I didn’t have to pack up from the Christmas Bazaar as we will repeat tonight with different musicians in the Museum, more savory and sweet snacks, more Wassail and hot tea to enjoy, then a pack up and stow away until a repeat next weekend of both events. I hope for similar weather, but the forecast has flipped between cold rain, freezing rain, and snow. I am hopeful that it will shift away from Saturday.

The rest of the upcoming week’s schedule is still packed. I am trying to decide whether to put down the fingerless mitts/convertible mittens that I am making for myself to see if I can add to my stock this week, or just go with the flow and hope that I start the new year with very limited inventory to report. I am certainly leaning in that direction.

Gifts- 12/3/2019

A plan is finally in place and not too stressful, I hope. With lots of doctor’s appointments, PT, and hearing clinic appointments between us, we seem to be spending lots of time in waiting room which affords me knitting time. Yesterday, daughter needed help with a sick child so she could go to work, so more knitting time. During hubby’s TV time is even more knitting time. The amount of it though is causing some joint pain with the cold raw weather. I have taken to wearing lots of wool layers from skin out to keep warm.

Hubby needed a new chair as “the Chair II” had failed, and then his laptop crashed so we ordered a new chair and he ended up with a business grade refurbished computer from the computer repair shop. He will only get a stocking stuffed. Child #2 provided a few wishes and wants experiences for her kids rather than more toys. Doable. Child #3’s family is taken care of. Child #1’s family is partially taken care of, that one is still in progress.

This weekend begins 3 weekends of craft events and hopefully, folks will buy my goods as gifts for their families and I will go into the new year low on stock which will make my personal property tax lower next year.

Time to get back to knitting.